On 10 December 2020 Minister of Health Robin Swann opened the consultation on statutory opt-out for organ donation in Northern Ireland.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek the public’s views on how to introduce a soft opt-out organ donation system for Northern Ireland. This would require new legislation to change the current system here, from opt-in to opt-out.
Currently in Northern Ireland donation will only ever proceed if a person had given their express consent for organ donation, usually by signing on to the NHS Organ Donor Register and/or speaking to their family. In the absence of this, the family is asked to make a decision on behalf of their loved one.
Under the proposed opt-out legislation, it is considered that everyone would be willing to donate their organs unless they have formally opted out. The family would continue to be consulted about donation as well as considerations around faith and beliefs. This will not change.
As a charity who supports children with congenital heart disease, we see first hand the agony of life on the waiting list for some of our families.
We would encourage everyone to talk to their loved ones about organ donation and to read about the consultation and submit a response via www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/organ-donation
The consultation will run for 10 weeks and close on 19th February 2021.